Tuesday, May 31, 2011

RIP Gil Scott-Heron

This past holiday weekend saw the passing of a wonderful and temperamental artist in Gil Scott-Heron
There have been a few tributes and recollections posted around the old interwebs today for the man, so I won't go into much detail as you can click the links and read them for yourself, but I was turned on to the artist back in college from my friend Steve who burned me a completion of his tracks.  Of course "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" was on there
and while it is still powerful and his obvious high water mark, I enjoyed the free jazz and musical backing, along with the cutting/poetic lyrics of "H20 Gate Blues" just as much:

 His newest release I'm New Here was gaining some chatter last year, unfortunately I haven't checked out the full album yet, hope to remedy that soon. 
The country lost a very unique American artist this weekend, so if you haven't checked him out yet give him a listen.  Safe travels to the hereafter and whatever lies beyond Gil. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sazerwrap up for Jazzfest 2011

 I have been putting off this wrap up of Jazzfest off because mentally I still feel like a part of me is still there and... that is a fantastic feeling.  I will do my best here but it would do more justice to that fantastic town and all the great people to chat about the experience over Abita's in a garden somewhere just west of the river.  (As always click on the pics for bigger versions)

Like last year, the trip started under glorious skies as I lazily walked through Jackson Square heading from the River into the Quarter.  I had to stop in the St. Louis Cathedral to pay some respects...so the ghosts wouldn't haunt the trip...you know...
Then it was time for some grub and I headed to EAT on Dumaine St. Jeff found this joint last year and I gotta say it is a great way to kick things off...the Crawfish Pie and Fried Green Tomato's where absolutely divine and while there were other things I really wanted to try on the menu, it is hard not dancing with the one who brought you to the prom.
Now that I was full and ready to party I headed over to the Louisiana Music Factory who were putting on one of the best free lineups I have ever heard of, courtesy of Basin St. Records
 I strolled up just as Kermit Ruffins was starting his set and got to hear him play a half hour of tunes highlighted by "If I Only Had A Brain" off his most recent release Happy Talk.  The cast of Treme were in the record shop signing DVD's and I had the pleasure to hang out next to most of them as they strolled onto the side walk to soak in the sun and the tunes.  As other bands where waiting to play the sidewalk literally became a whose who of musicians, actors, fans, passerbye's and curious folks.  I had the pleasure to chat with Kermit after his set, Corey Henry from Rebirth Brass Band before they played and Irvin Mayfield who had all the ladies taking notice.

The cast of Treme were all good-hearted towards the autograph seekers (not my style) and seemed genuinely happy to be partaking in the moment.  (Lucia Micarelli was particularly stunning in person).  Meeting up with friends Carrie, Brooke and Kelli we caught Rebirth and then Garage-a-Trois play a shortened set before cleaning up and grabbing some Gin Gin Mules from the best bar in town, Swizzle Stick in the Loews Hotel.   
Those drinks at that bar are reason enough to go to New Orleans.  It was tough to pull away, but we knew we would be back after a jaunt up Canal St. to catch Tom McDermott and Meschiya Lake perform at Chickie Wah-Wah's.  Expect some more here and there from Meschiya in the near future, but for now I can share this video I took of their set closing cover of "Just A Closer Walk With Thee"

The night took off as more friends arrived, cocktails were slung and memories were created.  Thursday lent itself to Jazzfest proper but not before grabbing some lunch at Luke.
 Now that is a lunch!  Sazerac's and Kumamoto Oysters...heaven.  Heading up to the show we managed to catch some fine playing from a host of musicians, but my highlight was Maceo Parkers set on the Congo Stage:



After catching Wilco's encore we headed back to town for some cleaning up before we hit up GW Finns for dinner, which was the worst of our meals...Lobster Knuckles aren't in season?  C'mon man.  The crap meal didn't stop us from having a fantastic night though as we went uptown to catch The Soul Rebels Brass Band at Le Bon Temps Roule.
While the band was pumping and the bar was flowing, the show was completely oversold, so after some strong drinks and hip shakes it was back to the quarter and the old Erin Rose to chat until sunrise. 

Friday saw the crew relax at the pool of the fabulous Windsor Court and then attend a great early dinner at Cochon.
It doesn't get any better then that. 

Cruising back we hit up Lucy's and while we were stuffed from Cochon the Crawfish boil outside smelled out of this world and hanging out by it with Miller Hi Lifes was a complete highlight.
Friday kept a rollin' into Saturday and while half of us made it to the fest to catch The Strokes, others just recouped and got ready for the late night fireworks of Ryan Scully and The Rough Seven.

I got a ton more to say on this one...but it is already written and in the review queue over at Glide so you will just have to wait until it's posted...OK I will give you one tidbit...IT WAS...
 MY FAVORITE SHOW OF THE YEAR!!!!!
The band absolutely slaughtered it....2012 Jazzfest can not come soon enough.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Glide Review - Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts

 Got a new review up on Glide.

Read it right C'here!!!

It is the newest release from one of my guitar heroes, Thurston Moore's Demolished Thoughts.

This time Thurston puts away the feedback and dissonance and breaks out the acoustics and gets some help from violins and harps.  Like another geee-tar hero J. Mascis, Thurston is showing off more of his softer side this time...age?  Artistic direction?  Forget to pay the power bills so they can't plug in the amps?  Who knows, it is kinda cool that they both put these out around the same time and it is was hard not to compare the two in the review. 

I think Thurston has taken a few more chances, bringing in Beck as a producer for one and adding many more outside players to the mix.  While I did give J half a star more, I could see myself growing to like Thurstons a bit more in the future....but seriously boys lets plug back in and rock the fuck out already!!!  Sorry where was I... 

The music is welcoming for most of the album with some seriously creepy lyrics popping up, off setting the lush atmospheric sound.   You can stream the whole album for a bit on NPR here...and below are my favorite tracks from the disk for your enjoyment...

"Benediction" (Pretty Great Track)

"Circulation" (Personal Fav...Most Sonic-like)

"Orchard Street"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Glide Review - Warren Haynes Band Live 5/12/11 Beacon Theater, NYC

 
Got a new review up on Glide.

Read it right C'here!!!

It is of the Warren Haynes Band Live 2 set 2 encore show at the Beacon Theater May 12th 2011. 

I had the pleasure of catching Warren post Jazzfest with two friends and the show presented was a good time.  Nothing earth shattering or mind blowing, but solid and workmen like.

I took Tom's line and used it in the review about it feeling like a Clapton show during the 80's (which he insisted was a good thing) and Mattie's overall view that it would have worked better if it was just a Stax cover show.  (Both of your royalties checks are in the mail).

I think the thread that ties both of those together is that Warren's new songs just aren't all that memorable.  He has always been the hardest working man in jamband land, but over the last few years I think he has written so many songs that there is almost a sense of burnout.  I felt it starting back in 2004 when he released Deja Voodoo with Gov't Mule and has seeped into his newest solo release, Man in Motion.  If one artist didn't need a solo release it is Warren.

Maybe I feel that way because I thought his early 00 decade output was some of the best live music out there.  The pain of losing his band mate and great friend Allen Woody produced Mule's best moments (all of The Deep End shows and releases) and his venture into Phil and Friends was the spark that reignited The Dead's catalog as he formed the insanely talented Phil Lesh Quintet before helping "The Dead" proper out with some fantastic tours.

Anyway, I love his voice and his playing, this wasn't the best show I have seen him do, and it wasn't the worst, so check out some live clips of him with his new band or even better, go check them out live yourself.

Warren Haynes Band Live Wanee Music Fest
"Invisible"  (is that Lopez on Bass?!?!)

"Tear Me Down"
"Power and the Glory"

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dylan Cover # 15 Porter Ridge Bluegrass Band "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" Live

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune comes from the Porter Ridge Bluegrass Band and is a live cover of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"

Thoughts on Dylan Original:
A great song, and one that sounds so simple.  It always felt to me that these are the kind of songs Dylan has seeping out of his pores, with lines like "Tailgates and Substitutes" that anywhere else would sound foolish yet here works wonders.  The musical backing from the original Band version is loose and matched fantastically with the lyrics.  I am sure it wasn't as easy going as it sounds on the final version, but what a gem of a track.  
Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Haven't had the pleasure of listening to the Porter Ridge Bluegrass Band before, and this is the first time I am hearing of them, but they seem like a fun little outfit. Can't find too much about them online either, but their other videos are good listens.  Like some other times in this series it is fun to explore new artists...thank you youtube.
 
Thoughts on Cover:
The band probably owes more to The Byrds and their country flavored cover of this tune then they do to Bob Dylan, but since The Byrds released this song first it isn't that surprising.  The group speeds things up and motors through the tune taking some breaks to play some tasty mandolin in the process.  A quick lyrical take but nailing all the lines with some twang, and like most covers in this series shows off the versatility of the bards tunes.  All in all an average admirable bluegrass cover.

Grade: C+

Wilson's Take:

With pop-culture swirling around the brain like electronic stew, ceaselessly, it's nearly impossible to hear bluegrass without thinking of Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? - the Coen Brothers' homage to the Greek poet Homer and Deep Fried Southern Culture. 

I've never crossed paths with The Porter Ridge Bluegrass Band and yet there's no call to put stock in that. We've all had run-ins with their musical kin at late-summer county fairs and Colorado rodeos. Bluegrass, like Ragtime, is an American genre that ain't goin' nowhere...it's fixed, unchanged, and sounds the same today as when Jefferson Davis was still representing Mississippi as a respected senator in Washington. Unto itself, this rendition of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" doesn't translate well on video. That's not entirely the band's fault. Bluegrass - dominated by the banjo - is one genre in which I firmly believe that to enjoy it, you have to be present and loaded. That combination is the elixer of some of life's finer moments, but for bluegrass it's essential. Yet bluegrass may just be the perfect home for a song with lyrics ranging from "Ghengis Khan could not keep, all his kings supplied with sleep" and "Tie yourself to a tree with roots, you ain't goin' nowhere" given the fact that while you have no idea what Dylan is talking about, you know exactly what he means. And that takes a very specific kind of genius...things have to get weird and punchy before they make sense, just like bluegrass.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Glide Review -The Dirtbombs- Party Store



Got a new review up on Glide.

Read it right C'here!!!

It is of Detroit's own Dirtbombs with their newest, Party Store.

This is the Motor City bands tribute to the mid 80's techno scene that was fairly popular in their town and when I first heard about it I knew I wanted to review it. 

This seemed such a strange combo that I thought some magic might happen. 

While their are highlights, overall it is a pretty loving tribute with not too much variation from the originals (guitars and feedback for keys and digital bleeps), but it is certainly worth hearing.  It is also a nice musical history lesson to go back and check out some of the original artists the band saw fit to cover. 

Here are a couple of the tunes with their original for comparison purposes...gvie a listen:

"Strings Of Life"

"Strings of Life" Original for comparison:

"Good Life"

"Good Life" Original for comparison.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dylan Cover #14 - The White Stripes - "Isis" Live

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune comes from The White Stripes and is a live cover of "Isis"

Thoughts on Dylan Original:
Desire is such a thick album, Dylan's most complex story songs seem to hover in and around it, and not all are winners...."Isis" is though.  A great song that manages to engage even without a chorus, it is one of Bob's more "mystical" tunes and lures most people in the first time they hear it...before the mp3 age it came right after the powerful "Hurricane" and transforms the album from timely to timeless. 


Cover:

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
My man crush for Jack White has been expressed here before, but unlike most fans of his, The White Stripes are my least favorite of his 3 bands.  I didn't get into them right away when they started, Elephant was the first disk I really liked.  Could be Meg's simple drumming, Jack limiting himself, or simply no bassist but they are lower down the ladder from The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather for me personally.  That said it is hard to hate on Jackie boy anytime he sings Dylan....

Thoughts on Cover:
Since we skipped last week in this series, and at the request of Wilson, it was decided that we should amp it up this week.   Jack White and Bob Dylan are kindred spirits, artists and lovers of music-deception-wimmin's and life; they seem melted from the same block of ice with fire.  Jack can instantly fall into Dylan's world while keeping his own artistic sensibilities and crushing riffs and Dylan paid the ultimate compliment by playing the White Stripes tune "Ball and a Biscuit" with White in Detroit as an encore a few years back.   The two are kin, and needless to say White enlivens this Western tale of greed and backstabbing with power as Meg stomps along.

Jack eliminates the 3 cadaver stealing verses from the song, but by doing so surprisingly tightens the narrative to jewels and fleeting love.  Shortening the story has made it simpler and yet does nothing to illuminate the mystery; which is part of the charm.  This live version from London in 01 is representative of the versions the band did when they played together.  Simple.  Driving.  Electric.    

Grade: A  

Wilson's Take:
If there is a guy built to share Dylan's heightened sense of reality, it's Jack White. He's our modern raconteur who harnesses the core elements of life, injects them with his own energy, and we're all left the luckier for it. In recent years he's been the artist who reminds us that there still are a few original tricks left in the aging bag of rock and roll...and more often than not he's done this by stripping rock music of the three decades of over-produced, digitalized, remastered, over-synthesized theatrics that accumulated like plaque on the sound. Rock - hijacked by those pining for time on MTV - forgot who it was for a time. This past decade, Jack White returned it to its birthright.

It takes balls to cover "Isis"...Dylan's "song about marriage" which leaves many who've inhabited said institution asking "Whose marriage? Certainly not mine..." There are no wedding bells. No joint checking accounts, common calendars and plans to piss away the weekend someplace safe. "Isis" is about Dylan's marriage - one of them anyway. And as Dylan often does, he skirts the drama any marriage avails itself to and closes in on the core reality of his chosen theme. "Isis" doesn't contain any of the heartache-resurrection of Blood on the Tracks - the "divorce album." Instead, on "Isis", Dylan lets the music beat the tale into the listener, creating an accurate sense of what time can be like in a marriage - or any relationship - via  a grinding, halting-tune that repeatedly lifts into moments of hope and then drops just as quick; one that beats along like an old 8-cylinder engine that can't quite get going. Just when you think things are really about to take off, the guitar chords drop, the listener is ripped back, and thus goes life with Dylan's Isis...the goddess whom he married on Cinco de Mayo amid the pyramids.

"Isis" is not Dylan's most devastating heartbreaker nor his deepest passion - it's the muse he seems to like the most amid his canon of work. Isis - the Egyptian goddess, pure in all things, matron of motherhood, vessel of nurturing and the purveyor of magic. Dylan, eternally distracted, is always trying to find her to tell her he loves her. Yet Dylan, being Dylan, always off chasing fate and the treasure hunt that is the heart's affections, "could not hold on to her very long." Nor could Jack White, but they hold on to some of that girl's magic and used it, in White's case, to lay out a helluva cover.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Funday - Thoughts from EWC

I am down in NOLA but wanted to take a second out to highlight some of my friends writing. Wilson has been contributing to RtBE on the Dylan front, but he also writes for The Daily Caller on the politics front.

I wanted to showcase his recent piece regarding the successful campaign to wipe out Bin Laden.

Give it a read here.  

Thanks for writing Wilson, and have a great weekend everyone.  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Glide Review - Alberta Cross Live 4-27-11 NYC



Got a new review up on Glide

Check it out right C'here!

It is of the group Alberta Cross who played a live showcase set at the Hudson Hotel last Wednesday Night.


So for full disclosure, my friend and bandmate Don worked with the group on a new commercial for Ketel One Vodka.  The night was an industry part that showcased the band, the new spots and of course the booze.

One thing that kept coming up was just how into the music all in attendance were (even with the free vodka flowing).  There were many stories and meet up's from the recent SXSW festival and rather then the band acting as a background for the night, the majority of those in attendance were hooked and into everything they did.

Showcasing some southern rock chops and English gloom the band has a good foothold on what they do best.  The new songs are still in flux and could certainly change when the album is released but they seem solid.  One thing I would mention is that all the tracks tend to run on a minute too long, without always going in unique directions; there seems to be a piece of these guys that wants to jam out, but they never crossover to full on exploration. 

Anyhow I am sure I will have more to say when the album comes out for real-io and I had a blast catching them with Don and Kevin.  Until then here are some older tracks:
"ATX"  Set Closer best response of the night.
   
"Low Man"

"The Theif And The Heartbreaker" Live in Rolling Stone Studios

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dylan Cover #13 Magnet & Gemma Hayes "Lay Lady Lay"

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune comes from Magnet and Gemma Hayes and is of "Lay Lady Lay"
Thoughts on Dylan Original:
Excellent track and the first time the world heard Dylan's new singing style, which would only last for Nashville Skyline.  This song is the standout track from this album, it is a classic and so simple, yet sweet and timeless.  One of Dylans best tracks, the closest to country he ever got and an fantastic piece of music.     

Cover:
Thoughts on Cover Artist:
Actually had never heard of Magnet which is the name of Even Johansen, or his co-singer here Gemma Hayes.  Again a pleasant surprise to find out about new artists    
Thoughts on Cover:
Really great bang up job with this one. The duet style is genius as Gemma switches some of the words around to keep things correct and the lush instrumentation backing is complete.  The strings and horns ache and the arraignments are full. The singing is also top notch with the voices complementing each other wonderfully.  If anything it may be a bit too theatrical, but over all not much to complain about with this one.
Grade: B+
Wilsons Take: